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Economy

Nepal Maoists roll out red carpet for foreign investors

Former revolutionary communists seek overseas funding for development

Pushpa Kamal Dahal, center, Nepal’s Maoist prime minister, greets Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank President Jin Liqun (second from right) and other delegates at an investment summit in Kathmandu on March 2 (Courtesy of Investment Board of Nepal)

KATHMANDU -- When Nepalese Maoists launched an armed insurgency in 1996, one of their targets was Pepsi, a multinational brand owned by PepsiCo of the U.S. On Feb. 16 that year, party members detonated a petrol bomb at a Pepsi plant on the outskirts of Kathmandu. To the communist insurgents, the company symbolized global capitalism, whose rapacious tentacles they wanted to chop off before Nepal was engulfed.

Twenty-one years after the attack, and 10 years after the end of a civil war that followed it, the Maoists are in government, and have made a U-turn. To the chagrin of their fellow communists in neighboring India and elsewhere, the former revolutionary party has abandoned communism and embraced the capitalist economy, agreeing also to play by the rules of parliamentary democracy.

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